First, a quick update on the Stack Exchange moderator election schedule.
Ending today, so get those votes in!
Coming soon, in this order, at 3 per week:
photo.stackexchange.com/election (Feb 7)
stats.stackexchange.com/election (Feb 14)
tex.stackexchange.com/election (Feb 14)
english.stackexchange.com/election (Feb 14)
unix.stackexchange.com/election (Feb 21)
apple.stackexchange.com/election (Feb 21)
(as always check out Yi Jiang's awesome Stack Exchange Moderator Candidate Statistics page for insanely detailed election stats on any of the above.)
As you can see, we have a lot of community moderators! That's why we've been working so hard lately on improving our moderator tooling, to make sure our new class of incoming moderators have as pleasant, polished, and smooth an experience as possible.
One thing we haven't helped much with, historically, is when serious behavior problems occur. We encourage direct one-on-one communication to resolve serious behavior issues before they become irreconcilable. Unfortunately, the only way for a community moderator to do this was to email the user from his or her personal email account. Ew, right? Far from an ideal solution, but it was the only one we had... until today!
To make these sensitive moderation scenarios easier, we just rolled out on-site moderator messaging.
This accomplishes several things:
All moderator to user messaging is done on-site; no email is required, and it's a private communication between the user and the moderators.
A duplicate courtesy notification email can optionally be sent to the user's email account. This email comes from
email@example.com(or the trilogy domain equivalent) so no personal emails are ever revealed.
We provide a set of prefab moderator template emails which cover most of the common-ish moderator direct contact scenarios we have experienced. This provides ambient guidance on a few situations you might expect to encounter at some point. It also reduces the "don't make me think" of composing these difficult messages, and helps guide both parties into a (hopefully) constructive and positive interaction.
The vast, overwhelming majority of users are perfectly well behaved, so it's rare to even need direct contact. But by the time we have to contact a user directly ... it's either something very, very good ... or something very, very bad. When it happens, we try our best to keep the interaction constructive. It's not about the specific user, it's about the specific behavior. Addressing the behavior is our only goal.
We have some other exciting changes coming for moderators that are complementary to the improved moderator flagging for users -- so stay tuned.
Good luck to all our moderator nominees. We're rooting for you, and we will keep improving the moderator experience as we go to make it as painless and easy as possible.